Give life, even through death
Many times, people distort theology. They put so much emphasis on the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that we don’t have to do anything to secure our place in heaven, and that it actually frees us from any responsibility to live according to God’s will for us.
The problem is that people put so much emphasis on what Jesus did and that people don’t have to work for their salvation, that they end up doing nothing.
Some even become afraid to do anything, because maybe they’re standing in the way of what Jesus accomplished for people on the cross. This way of thinking is not quite right and complete.
You see, if you understand Jesus’ work on the cross, you can’t do otherwise but do something too. One cannot stand unmoved, without works, if what Jesus did touches you.
You’re overwhelmed by gratitude. Then you want to start doing good yourself. The sacrificial act of Jesus on the cross ignites you. It fires you up. It mobilizes you to do good and to want to live in obedience to God.
In a way, you want to and cannot help but pass on the good you’ve received to the people around you who deserve it just as little as you do. These are two sides of the same coin. One side is the salvation of Jesus and the other side is the good works that we cannot help but do.
I once watched a movie called Pay It Forward. A student helps his struggling mother and implements the idea that if you receive something, you should also share it with others. A great wave of human generosity and kindness sweeps through the entire country and hordes of people’s lives change.
How different the world will look if we also share what we receive with the people around us. The world is hungry and thirsty for positive experiences. People are looking for true joy and peace. This can only be found in God. We have it. We have to go hand it out. It can and will make a big difference in many people’s lives!
We are living stones. We are built into God’s New House and we’re all aligned with the living stone, Jesus. He’s the one who gives us life. When you’re a living stone, your life is characterized by life and gives life to others.
If we do not give life to the people around us, chances are we’re dead. Then we are the bad stone in God’s New House. Then we cause the weak spot. I wonder if this is the reason why so many churches fall apart.
Another movie. Two Hearts. The true story of a young man who died at 18. His older brother doesn’t want them to “chop him up” and cut him into pieces. His mother gently takes him by the hand and says it was his brother’s will to donate his organs.
The movie ends where the families of the five people whose lives he saved come to silently thank the parents of the young man who had died. A living and, yes, then also a dead stone, giving life. Jesus, the living stone, is served through life and death.
5Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.
1 Peter 2:1-8
Are you alive?
Do you make others live?
Do others notice you as a living stone?
Father, I’m a living stone living next to the living Jesus. I want to give more life. Holy Spirit, help me to look away from myself and unselfishly serve other people. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.